€250k loss on ill-fated Lord of Dance gigs

THE promoter behind the ill-fated Lord of the Dance event at the Cliffs of Moher has, along with Clare Co Council, been left with a combined loss of a quarter of a million euro.

This follows MPO Promotions Ltd’s decision to ‘postpone’ the two scheduled concerts at the world-renowned visitor attraction next month.

MD of MPO Productions Ltd, Oliver O’Connell, confirmed yesterday he and the company of which he is a director have lost €200,000 between them on the event while director of service with the council, Ger Dollard, confirmed their investment was €50,000.

Mr O’Connell revealed yesterday that dance star Michael Flatley offered to stage the production at no cost. He said: “We are very grateful for Michael Flatley’s offer, but we couldn’t take him up on that.”

Mr O’Connell said “everyone else wanted to be paid up front and we didn’t have the money and that is what resulted in us deciding to postpone the event”.

Mr O’Connell explained that the way such events are structured, MPO Productions would not have received any revenue from the ticket sales until October and he was unable to source the necessary finance to stage the event.

He said: “We had a noble objective to give Clare a massive boost. We were not going to make any money out of this and the people knocking us today are the people who have never done anything in their lives. Risk-taking today is frowned upon.”

He said the marketing budget alone was €75,000.

Council representative Ger Dollard said: “We fully understand the reasons why the event has had to be postponed, adding, “I think an event at the site is a very sustainable proposition and hopefully we can build on the work done for a future event whether by MPO or others.”

On the €50,000 council investment in the plan, Mr Dollard said: “We could have undertaken a massive advertising campaign at a huge cost or tried to assist in delivering a unique project while at the same time seriously raising the profile of the cliffs. We achieved the latter but regretfully not the former.”

He added: “The council is obviously very disappointed that the event isn’t going ahead. With a bit of nice weather it would have been a fantastic occasion.”

Promoter Oliver O’Connell said yesterday he lost his home when his previous business, a plant hire company collapsed.

He said: “I’ve moved from that and I won’t rest until we stage something at the Cliffs of Moher.”

Mr O’Connell said the reason the event did not proceed was not because of poor ticket sales. He said: “Recent experience shows that a massive amount of tickets are sold in the last few days prior to a concert is being staged.” He said: “No one died today — a concert was cancelled at the Cliffs of Moher.”

Mr O’Connell said the company owes money arising from the decision not to proceed with the concerts “but it wouldn’t be anything like the €200,000 figure mentioned” in some quarters.

He said it remains his ambition to stage an event at the Cliffs of Moher. He said: “It is an iconic venue. Why should we give up? We haven’t hurt anyone.”

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